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HBO Max, Boat Rocker, Fishburne adapt Whitehead novel Sag Harbor

HBO Max and Canada’s Boat Rocker Studios are developing Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead’s novel Sag Harbor into a television series, to be executive produced by Laurence Fishburne.

The streamer and studio are working with Fishburne and fellow executive producer Helen Sugland’s Cinema Gypsy Productions (black-ish) on the adaptation of the coming-of-age story.

Actor, singer, writer and social entrepreneur Daniel ‘Koa’ Beaty is on board to write the pilot.

Set in 1985, Sag Harbor tells the story of Benji Cooper, one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. Every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own.

It marks the latest novel by Whitehead to be adapted into a series, after The Underground Railroad, which launched on Amazon Prime earlier this year.

Koa and Whitehead will executive produce Sag Harbor alongside Katie O’Connell Marsh for Boat Rocker, and Fishburne and Sugland for Cinema Gypsy Productions.

It comes after Ivan Schneeberg, co-executive chairman of Boat Rocker Media and co-chairman of Boat Rocker Studios, recently told the company is on the hunt for creative partnerships with off-screen talent and celebrities.

“Colson is a once-in-a-generation author who has the unique ability to craft beautiful and authentic stories that captivate and transform readers and Sag Harbor is a true expression of that gift,” said O’Connell Marsh, vice-chair, Boat Rocker Studios.



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